State breds earn the spotlight in New York Showcase Day at Saratoga
SARATOGA SPRINGS — New York-breds will take center stage at Saratoga Race Course today for New York Showcase Day, featuring a 12-race card containing six stakes for state-breds worth a combined $900,000.
Trainer H. James Bond is enjoying a tremendous Saratoga summer meet with a record of 10-6-4 from 34 starts, winning at a 29 percent clip and finishing in-the-money nearly 60 percent of the time, good for purse earnings of $417,568.
Bond will be represented by up-and-coming Rinaldi in the West Point, at 1 1/16-miles on the turf for 3-year-olds and upward set for Race 11. He said the New York-bred program is of utmost importance to Bond Racing Stable.
“My wife and I have a large farm with a lot of mares and a lot of foals and Bond Racing is mainly New York-breds,” said Bond. “We breed about 40 or 50 mares a year on the farm, Song Hill Thoroughbreds, so these types of races are a lifeline for us personally. I have two sons that work with me — Kevin and Ryan — so it’s a family affair and between the farm and the racing division, it means everything.”
Bond attributes his good start to the meet to his continued investment in the broodmare band.
“I think it’s the breeding program itself,” said Bond. “We stepped up our game a little bit with the stallions and we have some mares recently retired and this is their first crop getting to the races and they seem to be okay. We’ve got quite a few more behind them, so we’re optimistic we’re in the right church and pretty close to the front of the pews right now.”
Rinaldi, out of the Dynaformer mare Dynamite Cocktail, is a half-brother to Sovereign Award-winning Canadian-bred Hollinger, who banked more than $700,000 for Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield.
A modest $5,000 purchase at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Fall Mixed Sale, Rinaldi boasts a record of 6-3-1-1 with $234,490 in the bank.
The gelding kept good company in 2019, besting multiple stakes-winner Funny Guy in both the Spectacular Bid and Cab Calloway divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes Series.
Last out, Rinaldi earned a career-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure with a front-running score in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming event for state-breds July 30 on the Saratoga turf.
“We’ve had him since he was a baby and he’s done just about everything right for us so far,” said Bond. “He’s a very handy horse to have, especially on the grass, and I think he really likes the two turns. He’s definitely stepping up in class, but he’s a nice horse to do it with.”
The lightly raced 4-year-old will face a salty group that includes graded-stakes winner Dot Matrix for trainer Brad Cox and the Christophe Clement-conditioned duo of Therapist and Gucci Factor, who each boast more than $500,000 in purse earnings.
Clement said Castleton Lyons’ Gucci Factor, who won the Mohawk in October 2019 at Belmont two starts back, is coming back to form after being eased last out in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy on June 6.
“It took me a while to get him back working well, but he is doing well at the moment,” said Clement. “In the past, he didn’t like Saratoga too much with the fans and the noise, but it’s a bit of a different Saratoga this year. He has been training on the main track and has been doing well.”
Oak Bluff Stables’ Therapist, who won the 2018 NYSSS Cab Calloway at the Spa, boasts a record of 18-8-1-4. He enters from a closing second in a 1 1/16-mile open optional-claiming route July 29 on the Saratoga turf.
“He’s doing well. He’s always been a very hard-knocking trier,” said Clement.
The day’s opening race will see a field of six line up for the Seeking the Ante, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies as the first of six stakes races on the card each offering a purse of $150,000.
A talented field is led by Gary Barber’s multiple graded-stakes placed Make Mischief for Hall of trainer Mark Casse. Bred by Avanti Stable, the Into Mischief bay brought $285,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale and she rewarded her connections with a debut win in June at Belmont.
A productive summer at the Spa has seen More Mischief complete the exacta in both the Grade 3 Schuylerville and Grade 2 Adirondack.
Joel Rosario picks up the mount as More Mischief looks to go one better. Top contenders include Rossa Veloce, a debut winner on August 5 at Saratoga for trainer and part-owner Ray Handal; and maiden Summer Brew, who was off a step slow when second in her August 5 debut.
City Man has already won a stakes at Saratoga, taking last year’s Funny Cide, and will return to the main track after two starts on turf when he competes in the Albany for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles in Race 3. Trained by Clement, City Man ran fourth in the Grade 3 Transylvania in July on the Keeneland turf and was second against allowance company on the Saratoga grass on August 9 but will return to the surface in which he started his career 2-for-2 last year at the historic course.
“He had two very nice works on the main track with Joel Rosario. It’s an ambitious spot but a good place to try him back on dirt going long,” said Clement.
Chestertown, sixth in the Grade 3 Peter Pan on July 16 at Saratoga, will enter for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen, while Sky of Hook, the winner of the Rick Violette last year at the Spa, will make his second start of the year for Rudy Rodriguez.
Completing the field will be the Mike Maker-trained Turbo Drive, already a veteran of 13 starts; Microsecond, stepping up to stakes company for the first time in five starts for Pletcher; and Damon Runyon runner-up More Graytful, winning against allowance company at Saratoga in a race off the turf August 5, for Brad Cox.
A classy field of seven square off in Race 5, the 41st running of the Yaddo at 1 1/16-miles on the turf for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward. Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will be represented by veterans Fifty Five and War Canoe.
Peter Brant’s millionaire Fifty Five, bred by Empire Equines, boasts a record of 23-12-4-5. The 6-year-old Get Stormy bay captured the Grade 3 Florida Oaks in 2017 and has since reeled off eight stakes wins, including a last-out nose score over Yaddo rival Classic Lady in the Mount Vernon on July 2 at Belmont.
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ War Canoe, a 7-year-old Lemon Drop Kid mare bred by TIC Racing Stable, has banked more than a half-million dollars in 37 career starts from a record of 8-8-10. In search of his first stakes win, War Canoe will look to turn the rivals on Classic Lady after finishing second by a neck last out in the Dayatthespa on July 29 at Saratoga.
Clement will again entrust Rosario to find a winning trip for Classic Lady. The 5-year-old Jimmy Creed mare was transferred to the conditioner’s care this year and finished second in her Mount Vernon debut for Clement.
“She’s been a fun filly,” said Clement. “She came to the barn in the spring and we ran her twice. She’s the type of addition to the barn that we like.”
The Funny Cide, named in honor of Sackatoga Stable’s New York-bred 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, will see a field of eight colts sprint 6 ½-furlongs on the main track in Race 7.
E.V. Racing Stable’s Eagle Orb leads the charge after earning a 62 Beyer for a one-length score at first asking in a state-bred maiden sprint on August 21 at Saratoga. Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, the Orb bay was hammered down for $95,000 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale. Bred by Barry R. Ostrager, she is out of the Harlan’s Holiday mare Lady On Holiday.
Ostrager is also the breeder of Effinity, an Effinex bay out of the Freud mare Letshootpool, who was purchased for $60,000 at the same sale. Trained by Brad Cox for Zilla Racing Stables, Effinity graduated by four lengths at second asking in a 5 ½-furlong main track sprint on July 26 at the Spa. Wellspring Stables’ homebred Market Alert, an impressive debut winner on June 19 at Belmont, returns to state-bred company following an off-the-board effort in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on August 7 for trainer James Ryerson.
Trainer Jeremiah Englehart will send out a pair of contenders in the Fleet Indian for sophomores fillies going 1 1/8 miles in Race 10. Critical Value returned off a six-month layoff to win the Bouwerie in her seasonal bow on June 28 at Belmont Park. The daughter of Bodemeister will stretch out from that seven-furlong sprint to the Fleet Indian distance for the first time since running fourth in the Grade 2 Demoiselle in December at Aqueduct. Her stablemate, Makingcents, will make her first stakes appearance in six starts.
Danny Gargan will send out Ice Princess, who ran ninth last out in the Grade 3 Fantasy in May at Oaklawn Park. With three wins in five starts, the victor in the Maddie May in February at the Big A’s only other off-the-board effort came when fourth in the Grade 1 Frizette in October at Belmont.
Rounding out the field is Maddie May runner-up Courageous Girl for trainer David Donk; Playtone, who ran second in last November’s Key Cents for George Weaver; Sharp Starr making her first stakes appearance for trainer Horacio DePaz; and Micromillion, looking to break her maiden in her seventh start for Todd Pletcher.
New York Showcase Day, which is the final Friday of the 40-day Saratoga summer meet that concludes on Monday, will start with a 12:20 p.m. first post.